ESPN to launch college esports championship

The ESPN Events division of US sports broadcaster ESPN has announced plans to launch an esports competition for college students.

The first-ever ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship (CEC) will feature hundreds of schools from across North America and will begin soon, with a LAN (local area network) semi-final and championship planned in Houston from May 10-12.

Colleges will compete in Overwatch, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Hearthstone, StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm. The Houston event will be produced and staged by ESPN Events, with Blizzard Esports to support the organisation.

Collegiate esports organisation Tespa and the Collegiate Star League will hold qualifying rounds for Blizzard’s games and Street Fighter V, respectively.

Finalists will compete for scholarship prizes, ESPN said. Portions of the qualifying rounds and the LAN Championship will be streamed globally on a range of platforms.

Clint Overby, vice-president of ESPN Events, said: “The esports landscape is a growing and dynamic space, and will fit nicely into our line-up of ESPN-owned events.”

The CEC will become Overwatch’s only collegiate championship.